Paul Bowles: Call at Corazon

4 Apr

Here we have a Bowles story set in Latin America, probably Mexico, unlike his usual settings in northern Africa. How does the change of place effect the story? Or does the setting even matter?

Here we have a story that concerns a relationship between a man and woman, on their honeymoon. What does the setting say about the relationship? In other words, what kind of couple would choose to honeymoon like this?

What does the monkey signify? How is this “motif” repeated, and to what effect?

If this is a battle of the sexes, who wins? What happens next? Is the young wife in any way justified in what she does? Is her “punishment” fair, considering her “crime”?

Briefly describe these two characters. Can you imagine what attracts them to each other?

115 Responses to “Paul Bowles: Call at Corazon”

  1. Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Hey everyone. We’ll comment on this for a while, and then I’ll write a second post about Under the Sky.

  2. aarontrost April 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    I think a adventurous couple would do this for a honeymoon. To me, it seems like a cruise that they are on, but picked the worst cruise ever. Another thing is the couple could be very cheap and didn’t really care about going on a fancy honeymoon and decided to go somewhere just to get away from their life at home.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      How about that line where he admonishes her, saying something like, “can’t you ever enter into the spirit of the thing?”

      Seems he digs this kind of hardship, whereas she’s bored and uncomfortable.

      • nicklevato April 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

        It’s the quarriers, revamped!

        • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

          That’s exactly what I thought when I read this. The wife just accompanies the husband because she thinks it is the right thing to do, just like hazel followed around Q.

        • kyleemc2010 April 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

          I agree! I kind of got a feeling it was a blend of the Quarriers and Hubens relationships combined in their purposes on their trip and disfunction in the relationship.

      • Garold Millington The Third April 5, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

        When he says, “You don’t take a honeymoon alone,” and then she retorts, “You might.” with a short laugh following this suggests that she might actually fear that he doesn’t need her (37)

    • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      maybe the Man, was adventurous, but it seems that the woman did not enjoy the trip at all. Throughout the short story she seemed very kurt, and expressed her distaste for the trip.

    • angelaledford10 April 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      I agree that the couple has to be adventorous to be willing to take a cruise like this but also poor. They had been complaining about how narraow the channels were and some of the boats were packed with people. The weren’t on the best ships for their honeymoon. I also feel it was a last second choice because although it says she loved the boats she’s not to thrilled to be on these boats.

      • staceydahm10 April 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

        The man said she loves boats, so I think he is taking what she says and twisting her words to get what he wants and for the majority of the story she follows along with this.

    • staceydahm10 April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      I only found the man to be adventerous. It seemed to me that the woman had no interest in being here except to comply with her husbands wishes. This can represent the power that the man has over the women until the women decides to show that she also has power and cheats on the man. I think this plot could occur in a variety of settings, but the many rivers and jungles of Latin America would provide a more primative atmosphere.

      • kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

        she obviously seems to like foreign adventures, as well…(haha)

  3. petekoczmara April 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I think him leaving her was definitely the right punishment for what she did and alcohol is not a justifiable excuse for what she did. It seemed to me that this wasn’t much of a honeymoon, more like a really bad vacation for a troubled couple.

    • kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      He essentially left her stranded in a place that is unfamiliar to her and far away from home. He could have figured out exactly what had happened and just ended the trip early then left her…

      • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

        Yeah. She’s in trouble if he doesn’t come back. Probably he has her passport.

        • petekoczmara April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

          Now she can stay there with her new “lover.” Cheating on your honeymoon is unacceptable.

    • angelaledford10 April 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      I also think the punishment fits what she did because there was no excuse for what she did. She may have been newly married or unhappy at the moment but she was still supposed to be in a commitment with him.

    • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

      I thought it was awesome what he did. If I ever got married and a women cheated on me on the first days of our honeymoon I would have no qualms about doing the same. The fact that she was drunk is never an excuse, and you can read that on every stall this fine institution we call Augustana.

      • stuartgaulke April 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

        very true

  4. shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    I feel as though the punishment does not quite justify the crime simply because he saw the aftermath and has zero idea of what may have happened. He let his quick emotions get the best of him in my mind. Although the outlook seemed bleak and cheating may have been the only rational thought in his mind, I still feel as though he should have found out the story before being so quick to skip town on his new wife.

  5. nicklevato April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Call at corazone was weird. The setting didn’t alter the story because it was still as creepy as the rest of them with the one guy and his mosquito spray, and it was eerie with him lurking around for his wife. I feel like couples don’t normally act like that on their honeymoon, nor take a trip on a boat in the situation they were in. and they certainly don’t go slutting around cuz they’re drunkenly upset.

    • erinwilliams10 April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Slutting around? Wow.

    • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      She totally did.

    • bayernjung1023 April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      I’d agree with the slutting around part. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think that lurking around for your wife is a good thing either.The relationship that these two have is starting to seem almost a bit unhealthy to me.

  6. erinwilliams10 April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    It seems to me more like they wanted to do the ‘exotic world traveler’ thing and found themselves hating it. The wife half reminds me of Hazel, how she is constantly changing her mind and complaining about things. Also, I thought the ending was good, but I imagine that if someone really did that to their wife they would feel bad about it shortly after.

    • nicklevato April 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      Yes. I feel as though it was a temporary thing. seeing as they have been married they most likely live together somewhere. so eventually they will cross paths and deal with it.

    • cadams177 April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      I agree, my mind immediately went to Hazel, as she plays the role of “reluctant spouse” trying to make her husband happy, but at the same time making it painfully obvious that she is unhappy. Seems like this type of character keeps popping up in travel stories

    • kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

      I totally agree about the similarities between the wife in this story and Hazel. Not only her though, but the setting in general reminded me of “At Play in the Fields of the Lord.” The newlyweds were traveling in what seemed to be more of remote locations, I would assume that they expected to really enjoy their trip (I’m not sure why they would book that vacation if they didn’t forsee themselves enjoying it), and then once they were on it, disaster struck and everything went down the drain.

  7. meghanbradley10 April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    I also agree, the couple seems adventurous and outgoing. However I don’t feel like the wife is as on board as the husband is seeing as she is complaining about how ‘no one would go on a honeymoon like this’ and begins drinking by herself. I almost see some similarities between this couple and both of the couples from At Play…in a sense that the husband is all down for this trip and the wife seems to be a place keeper or just along for the ride.

  8. stuartgaulke April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    As far as the battle of the sexes and who won, I seem to think that they both won. Throughout the reading they both can’t seem to get along even though it is their “honeymoon”. The wife is never happy with her husband, to the point of sleeping with another man in the end. The husband is always questioning his wife on her opinions and actions. In my opinion, the ending was probably right for both of them

  9. Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Yeah. Worst honeymoon ever. What’s his emotional state as he escapes her, with all her bags? Is he satisfied? Happy? Shocked?

    • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      The only time I think he really shows care for her is when she has been gone all night. He becomes worried for her in the morning. Then, after he finds her and looks at the scene, he loses that concern entirely.

      • kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

        The husband said/thought that she has done this before, though. He made it seem like it was not a rare thing for her to not be there sometimes. And he did note that she is comforting to him at night. And when he looked for her he thoroughly searched the boat, he didn’t just carelessly wander around. And he doesn’t mention/think anything like…”we really need to get that train,,,where is she?” or “what the heck I need help packing!” He seemed to be looking for her because he was concerned where she was because she had not come back to their room at all…

        • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

          Okay, but why not pick her up from her sleeping place then? That way he could drag her off the boat, and make completely sure she makes it off with him.

          • kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

            I was referring to his “lack of concern” that some people got from him waiting til morning to look for her. In that moment he probably was thinking that she clearly has someone to take care of her, at least for a little while, and then left becasue of how hurt he was

    • nicklevato April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      I find it comical. It sort of deflects the serious part and is a comic relief in that his revenge is simple and spiteful while hers is lustful. It seems they are targeting what will most upset each other.

      • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

        I have to agree. I love how Bowles just describes the man taking out a notebook, placing it on his lap, and just smiled as the taxi drove off. I think this sort of thing might be a trademark of Bowles, where he kind of sets the story up to be really creepy and scary, and sort of ends it with an ambiguous ending about everyones feelings. I like to think that the man went on to enjoy the honeymoon by himself.

    • aarontrost April 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      I think at first he was angry when he left without her, but maybe that figure that was running with the children was his wife.This sight of the white figure gave him the relief he needed in knowing that she did love him and was chasing after him. Or he was happy to be away from her, and didn’t want to have the burden of knowing that she was with the other guy.

    • stuartgaulke April 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

      I think that he’s satisfied. In his opinion, this was supposed to be a special trip that his wife can’t seem to get into. They argue the whole story and ends up seeing his new wife lying next to another man. This is the compensation for all of the troubles she put him through

    • angelaledford10 April 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      I think once he leaves her with her luggage he feels relieved and satisfied but I think shortly after this he is going o feel guilty for leaving her. He was concerned about her and cared for her so I think sooner or later he’ll try and find her again.

      • staceydahm10 April 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

        I didnt really grasp that he was concerned for his wife. He knew she was drunk and roaming around the ship and his only concern was that she would come in and wake him up. He doesn’t ever seem to give his wife the opportunity to formulate her own decision before he gives her the right decision. An example would be the purchase of the monkey. He decided to buy it before asking her and then expected her to comply.

      • kyleemc2010 April 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

        I was kind of under the impression that he didn’t even leave her with her luggage, which literally gives her no hope in this place at all. Hopefully (for her sake) he does decide to go back! haha But I also got the vibe that she has done something like this before, and maybe he looks at this as his last straw and decided that he will not come back to her this time– and that could be the reason behind his smile when he leaves on the train? Just a thought..

    • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      If the man cared even remotely for his wife, no way in hell he would just strand her like that. It would be a different story if this was just in the U.S., but it is not.

    • shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      I feel as though he’s pretty content with how he reacted to the situation at the time being, but may come to realize he was a bit harsh for up and leaving her in a different country. Especially after exchanging vows, I mean, “til death do us part” apparently doesn’t have meaning or at least not as much as a wave of emotions that would potentially pass in upcoming days.

  10. kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    I don’t think that the wife’s actions are justified at all. From the beginning of the story, the reader gets the feeling that the husband is the character that we should be suspicious of, but as the story progresses, we discover that the wife is. The husband what his wife tells him to do by buying the monkey, and then she complains about it. So then, he gives the monkey to one of the ship’s workers on the first boat we hear about. His wife seems to be complaining and giving him a hard time the entire trip! Then she goes and cheats on him…? Not cool.

    However, I don’t necessarily believe that the husband was justified in leaving her on the ship. Maybe he viewed it as she had someone else now who can help her find her way home…? Obviously he gets some satisfaction out of leaving her, but in a place far away from home that doesn’t appear to be safe it wasn’t very nice…

    • cadams177 April 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Idk, i felt like it was karma doing its thing at the end there. Maybe im being a little insensitive because its just a story, but Im glad it ended the way it did

  11. aarontrost April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    maybe the monkey was a sign of the relationship being a joke. Maybe it signifies that they are a push and pull relationship where one of them has the reigns while the other is getting dragged along.

    • nicklevato April 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      I feel like the monkey was kind of a big deal. it’s very revealing as to their perspectives of the world, and definitely sheds light on the way they perceive their current situation.

      • dannycampbell1 April 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

        Yeah I agree.. the monkey showed some significance. It reduced the conflict between husband and wife to a primal level in which the reader is brought to question their differences as such between sexes.

  12. meghanbradley10 April 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I really don’t think the setting changed the story at all. It was still a foreign country and they still didn’t necessarily belong in the place at which they were. They may have been seen as easy targets and perhaps somewhat arrogant like the professor in the story we read the other day.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      All his stories are the primitive versus the cultured, and the primitives pretty much always win.

      • staceydahm10 April 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

        I can normally see the contrast between primative and cultured cultures, but I find the distinctive blurred in this story as well as who actually ‘wins’ in this story.

  13. wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I feel like the setting change doesn’t affect the story too drastically because it still seems like they are in a more uncivilized setting. Also since they are primarily on a boat it seems irrelevant whether they be in Morocco or Mexico. The setting does say a lot about their relationship though. I feel like they are in a sketchy situation once they boarded the second boat, and that is very similar to the relationship. The relationship makes no sense to me. They are constantly arguing, bickering, and judging when they are together, and it seems like the only time either of them has any piece is when they are alone. A honeymoon is supposed to be something special that you share with your new spouse, and to this couple it seems like a chore. The fact that they would pick a honeymoon destination like this (seemed more like the husband’s choice than the wife) shows the awkward dynamic of their relationship. When most people think honeymoon it is in a tropical, where they can rest and relax, not crammed on some boat where you sleep in a single bunk

  14. kyleemc2010 April 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    I think the setting has a particular importance because it compares to the character’s relationship in a way. Like the setting is this warm and tropical place that is supposed to be a vacation spot and lovely (like their honeymoon of a marriage) but their whole time there consists of storms and ridiculous amounts of mosquitos.
    I am under the impression that the husband was the one to choose the honeymoon spot. He probably chose it because it would be a cheaper trip, and because he seems to be doing on some quest for some thought-provoking soul searching, and the nature of this area seems to bring him that.
    The monkey seems to signified “the menace” in all of the characters. At first glance he appears cute and personable but then becomes a little terror when they take him home. I think it is ironic, however, that the wife is the one who gives the husband grief in a way for wanting to buy this menace of a monkey, but in the end it is her character that ends up being the menace of the story.
    I don’t know what will happen next. And it is hard to say if she is justified in what she does because we do not have enough backstory on these characters. We get a glimpse into her mind at one point where she makes a comment about her husband’s anger—and that is displayed through-out the story. It could be possible that he maybe has not been faithful to her in the past, or maybe has abused her in one way or another; so that may not completely justify her actions, but it would make the reader dislike her a little less for what she did. And I think his “punishment” for her is quite fitting.

  15. shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    I think the monkey signifies the stubbornness and disconnect of the relationship, because they seem to butt heads quite a bit in the story but the monkey is what kicks it all off and then him getting rid of the monkey to me seems like foreshadowing of the relationship falling apart since they didn’t get rid of the monkey as a couple. it was decided by one person.

    • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      I agree. I thought it was very symbolicof the relationship when the monkey started ripping the pages out of the book because it showed the growing disconnect between the husband and wife.

    • erinjones10 April 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      I think the monkey symbolizes the husband’s childish impulses, like wanting to buy a monkey in a foreign country (maybe even the honeymoon was his impulsive idea). He even compared males to monkeys interesting enough – they are “little model men.” Although the husband intends this comment as an admirable quality of spirituality within the male gender, it only further characterizes the husband as a bestial man with bestial qualities, illustrated in his neglect of his wife.

  16. dannycampbell1 April 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    The depth of conversation had between the husband and the wife reveals quite clearly that they are intelligent characters who share a relationship grounded in deep understanding of each other (flaws included). The wife’s decision to rebel quite rambunctiously against the perceived wrongdoings of the husband on their honeymoon, then, comes as a surprise. In this case, the setting doesn’t seem to yield much importance (besides the fact that they are island hopping on boats, which symbolizes turbulence and transition in the relationship).

    I am not convinced by the hints of uncertainty which seem to suggest the wife did not cheat on her husband, but merely drank and innocently rebelled. The absence of clothing suggests frolicking, at the very least, and such behavior on a honeymoon is not cool at all. The punishment of being exiled in an unfamiliar place without the company of her husband is a deserved one, and I sympathize with the male sex in this instance.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Nice use of “frolicking.” I won’t forget that soon!

  17. rachel szeszel April 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    For two people to choose their honeymoon in Mexico reminds me of people who are eager for adventure or looking just to spend time together on the beach or something. So I think the setting matters because it can help you understand the culture and customs of the place. Although the cruise they are on seems an interesting choice because for two people who cant stand each other a cruise is a fairly contained place to be. Also, your gonna be stuck on a boat, so the adventure aspect is kind of at a minimum and a cruise is more about who your with. Too bad for them I guess.

  18. erinjones10 April 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    The roles should be reversed. The husband deserved his punishment for the crime of being a sexist, chauvinistic pig. For instance, when he wrote in his journal, he comments on how “intellectual education, having been devised by males for males, inhibits and confuses her.” The husband does not appreciate his wife or give credit to her intellect. Through his treatment of her, he led her to drinking and possibly adultery. The wife is better off without him and she can figure out her own way home.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      Does it matter that he was trying to sympathize for the plight of women when he wrote that note? Also, he wrote in privately in his journal. Isn’t being sexist more of a matter of public declarations rather than private musings? Or, to put it another way, should we be punished for our private thoughts and feelings?

      Not that I disagree with you. He clearly sees women as inferior, and sees her that way especially.

      • hresan42 April 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

        Was he sympathizing? I took it as being more patronizing than anything.

        He did write privately in his journal, but that doesn’t make it any less sexist. You should not be punished for private thoughts and feelings , but that does not mean that they are not what they really are. Sexism is sexism, racism is racism- whether you’re thinking it or doing something about it.

      • erinjones10 April 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

        Sexist thoughts still influence actions. So if the husband is trying to sympathize with women, he is doing a pretty poor job of it, depicted be his treatment of his wife. He seems indifferent towards her, especially when his first impulse is to abandon her in a foreign country as if adultery is expected of an inferior wife – or an inferior women.

        • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

          The stereotype was and still is that women are more often moved by emotion and men by reason. Is this stereotype patently wrong? Or, to put it another way, is it bad to be moved by emotion and good to be moved by reason? That seems to be the assumption here.

    • dannycampbell1 April 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      The things he wrote in his journal and the way he treated her in person were disconnected in every way. The journal was his inner conscience, and the only thing it revealed was that the struggle was in fact between the sexes. And he did not lead her to drink, he gave her several other alternatives and attempted to be compassionate. The wife’s behavior carried far beyond her thoughts, as she cheated on her husband.

    • kyleemc2010 April 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      I agree with what you’re saying here, no doubt that he’s a jerk. But it just depends on what you consider to be a worse crime, being the kind of guy that writes sexist-jerk comments in a private journal or being the kind of girl who cheated on her husband on their honeymoon. She is definitely in the wrong too!

    • shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      How exactly is she going to be fine on her own with little to no possessions, is she going to work the corner in order to gain money in that way to?? Yes he was being an ass by writing that about her but it seems as though this is both of there faults. He gave her other alternatives to heavy drinking in order to cope with her stress such as reading or sleeping. But she made a different choice and her choice reflected poorly on herself and shows little personal responsibility especially since honeymoons are supposed to be the time when couples are most “in love” yet she gets drunk and sleeps with some random from a dirty cruise boat. To me, that says a lot about her personality and none of what it’s saying is good.

      • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

        Personally, I wouldn’t want my spouse to lecture me about drinking on my honeymoon.

        • shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

          You may be right, I probably wouldn’t either but from the sound of it she had a history of over drinking which can lead to bad situations such as these especially since the person she’s mad at is the only person on the boat she actually knew. So naturally to blow off steam she would contact others and in her anger/drunkenness she made a rather poor decision

  19. meghanbradley10 April 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    I don’t think either of the characters ‘wins’ the fight or whatever. The husband left his wife drunk next to some random ship worker (lose) and then leaves only to go back to where they came from, where they are newly married, and then be like, sorry? There’s no way he can just waltz off of the boat and feel no stab of guilt for leaving her there by herself. And the wife is on the boat in the first place, he gets rid of the monkey for her, she was, I’m assuming, attracted by the man who was supposedly supposed to be spraying her room for bugs, gets drunk and is left on the boat by herself..also losing. And how mad do you think she’ll be when she wakes up and finds herself alone? Whether her actions are justifiable or not, neither are her husbands. It’s a lose lose situation.

  20. nicklevato April 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    why don’t these men who decide to travel the world care for their women? i feel like this is a contemporary comment on modernity in that today men and women need each other less. the romantics are fading out and love becomes only a matter of carnal knowledge.

  21. Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I’d like to take a side note on the journal entries the man makes a few times in the story. I can’t make heads or tails of them. However, it makes the man seem very intelligent, and observing. It is almost as if the woman is of interest to him because then he can study her interactions and such.

    “Recipe for dissolving the impression of hideousness made by a thing: Fix the attention upon the given object or situation so that the various elements, all familiar, will regroup themselves. Frightfulness is never more than an unfamiliar pattern.”

    What the heck is he talking about?

    • hresan42 April 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      His journal entries are very interesting. He seems very…pompous. I have to wonder if HE even knows what he’s talking about.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      He tries to convince himself that nothing is scary, or unfamiliar. That he can use the power of his intellect to rearrange things and make himself feel better. Sounds like the professor of linguistics to me.

      Think of the monkey. He likes it because it reminds him that we are all just monkeys when it comes down to it.

  22. staceydahm10 April 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    In the story the woman says about the monkey, ” I suppose this represents Man’s innate urge to destroy”. The woman does not like when her husband acts primativly and I think she sees the monkey as the negative qualities of her husband. She actually finds the major difference between her husband and the monkey to be that the husband has the opportunity to control his actions, but does not…which is worse than the monkey.

    • angelaledford10 April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      I agree completely with this. its also repeated when he leaves her alone on the ship. He could control his actions and wait to find out what actually happened and then deal with it in a more civilized manor bt instead he lets his emotions get he best of him and just leaves her stranded on a boat with out any of her things.

    • shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      I agree, the fact that the monkey can’t control himself but the husband can and decides not to just adds to the tension in the marriage from the start. If I hadn’t known they were married i’d say they act more like brother and sister bickering on a crappy family vacation because they were forced to stay in the same room when they didn’t want to.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      And yet, the man she ends up with has a “simian” face, that is, a monkeyish face. And her husband calls him “my monkeyman.” Did she choose him just for this fact?

  23. 0213rose April 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I thought the woman got what was coming. Clearly they didn’t get along very well, and then for her to openly cheat like that when it was so likely for her to get caught… Maybe it wasn’t even punishment as much as a relief to not have to be in that relationship anymore. She could have thought of it as a good thing, for certain he was happy with his decision, so why not her?

  24. brittondallas10 April 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    The couple in itself does not seem stable, so it is rockey like the cruise ship they are on. The change to a Latin American country I do not believe changes the feel of the story, they still are foreign and a little out of place. The monkey perhaps signifies the strangeness in their relationship and how they are almost out of place, do not belong there together. I could also see it signifying the lack of importance in the relationship between the two

  25. hresan42 April 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    As wakaflockablog said, they are in a boat, so the setting matters less. They are moving around and the setting is clearly not what they are used to, and this is all that matters.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a film version of this PB story? Has anyone seen it?

    This is a story of revenge and counter revenge, essentially. I do think that the wife deserved what she got, but that is not to say that the husband bears no fault.
    These two are awfully tiresome with their bickering, and honestly I’m not sure if it’s the situation that has made them like this or if they’ve always been like this. They are an awkward couple together, and they are awkward people when separate. They are so awkward it’s comical, and you have to wonder how they ended up together in the first place.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      I haven’t heard of a movie made of this, but it seems like it would make a good one.

      I understand that this is based on a true story of Bowles and his wife Jane’s honeymoon.

      • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

        The funny thing about that, is that Paul is bisexual, and that he and Jane had always had an open marriage. And it lasted until death.

      • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

        So… did he ditch his wife fo’ real?

        • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

          No. Probably he woke her up and dryly told her she’d better get dressed or they’d miss the train. But there’s the difference between fiction and real life for you.

  26. aarontrost April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    I can see this couple being attracted to each other because they are completely opposite. The man is adventurous while the woman is very cautious and don’t want to do much. Maybe this is the reason they are attracted to each other. She wants to become more outgoing and adventurous, and he might want to calm down or wants to have someone to go on adventures with him.

  27. meghanbradley10 April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    I think the monkey merely represents primitive behaviour. She wanted her husband to get rid of the monkey in the first place, although she wouldn’t admit it, and was not very fond of it. And then in the end, she got rid of the monkey and the husband, which I think may have been just what she wanted.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Yes. He’s concerned with the intellect over our animal selves. He likes the monkey because it reminds him that we’re all monkeys (as I posted before). She just hates it because it’s a pain in the ass to keep. That’s the two of them right there. He’s all up in his head, she’s more practical. Kind of a gender role reversal, no?

  28. Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    To talk about the setting, I don’t believe it is Latin America, northern Africa that makes it that different. (I suppose that would effect the story a little. With the different languages there might be better communication, because more people have a better understanding of spanish.) It is the boat that really effects the story, and in my mind makes it different.

  29. kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    As far as the battle of the sexes question goes…I think they’re tied. I’m sure they’ll both regret what they did to one another, regardless of their motives. He will never forget leaving her and taking all of her things and she will never forget cheating on him on their honeymoon. It sucks that this appears to be a competition of who can hurt one another the most. Whether the wife’s actions were because she was annoyed/upset/angry with her new husband, nothing justifies cheating. No one can ever win this game…

  30. 0213rose April 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    The man has kind of a large ego. He thinks he is superior (possibly just because he is a man?) The woman seems to try and egg him on. She always says snarky comments and I feel like shes pushing him for a reaction. Like with the monkey, she didn’t outwardly tell him to get rid of the monkey but she obviously wanted him to.

  31. wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Another reoccuring idea that I continue to see in Bowles stories are the reoccuring character who is pompus, arrogant, and regards themselves as better than the rest. You can clearly see it in this story with the mans journal entries and his sexists views.

    • staceydahm10 April 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      And this reoccuring character is always foreign to the setting, we get a good opposition veiwpoint in the story, “Under the Sky” where a native describes the actions of the white people who ‘pay for two meals just for carrying a bag’.

    • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      Tea on the Mountain – this one could be Driss.
      A Distant Episode – The linguist
      Call at Corazón – The man
      Under the Sky – i supoose it was Jacinto

      Who was pompus, arrogant, etc, in the scorpion?

      that one man, the son, or the woman?

      • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

        Good question on the scorpion. I feel like that one sort of breaks the mold, and personally that was the hardest story for me to really get into and understand. I guess my vote would be for the women because she thought she was doing everything right. What do you think?

        • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

          Well, the son? I don’t believe it was the man, he seemed more curious than anything. And the woman just seemed a bit crazy, from being in isolation. I mean, she was grateful for the life she had in the cave.

          • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

            Good point. I like that interpretation

  32. aarontrost April 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    With the punishment he gave her, I think it is justified but also isn’t. I think the he should have atleast talked it over with her and leave her when they got back home. Leaving her on a boat was a bad way to seek revenge on a person. Even though, she did look like she slept with another guy, maybe he brought her back to keep her away from the mosquitos and it just got really hot in the room.

    • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Yeah, we don’t cut peoples’ tongues out anymore because they told a lie.

  33. wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    I think there attraction might be associated to the idea of opposites attracting. I see the man as adventerous yet sensible, while the women is a little less of a risk taker, but she can be incredibly reckless when under the influence. Maybe they saw the differences as a way to balance eachother out.

    • 0213rose April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      The who balancing each other out is interesting, but clearly they never find a balance since he ends up leaving her. It makes me wonder how long they knew eachother because with the attitudes they both had I would think if they had know eachother a while before they got married, a wedding never would have happened. Maybe they never knew exactly what they wanted in a spouse, or what they thought they wanted wasnt really what they needed.

  34. kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I forgot to put this in one of my other comments but the husband seems to trust his wife because when he sees the bug repellent can on the mattress, which he knew was delivered by the man he had met earlier, he doesn’t think about his wife cheating or anything negative towards either of them…

  35. stuartgaulke April 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I dont think that the punishment fit the crime. First of all we don’t even know the story behind his wife and the other man in the room. Like Aaron said there could have possibly been some reason behind it (Personally, I doubt there was). But to leave her stranded all alone without her bags is quite ridiculous. She is now stranded all alone somewhere with nowhere to go. I think he should have thought that through before he left

    • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      In the heat of the moment it seemed like the right choice. Maybe looking back on it he will feel regret or terrible about the whole situation, but that is up to your own interpretation

      You can follow me on twitter @Sean_Considine

  36. shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    100th reply #winning

    • Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm #


  37. Jasen Hengst April 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    100th comment, hopefully.

  38. wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Are we suppose to return to class or are we going to be blogging on the second story?

    • shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

      I am not sure, but there’s a good amount of us sitting in the classroom now.

      • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

        Alright well leave a comment if he comes back a couple people are sitting in Olin with me waiting for the next blog

  39. Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Nicely done everyone. Wait a minute for a post about Under the Sky.

  40. abeltamirat October 17, 2020 at 12:28 pm #

    Did anyone happen to read Paster Dowe at Tacate?
    If so how does Paul Bowles show the change that paster Dowe undergoes?

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